take back the summer | part 2: the state fair

IMG_7408 Ahhh, the fair! It may not measure up to the movie when it comes to musical numbers and mincemeat pie, but the Wisconsin State Fair has its fair share of charm. I'd been looking forward to going for weeks, because my sweet old friend Kristin won the crown for Alice in Dairyland and I was excited to see her (and her tiara) in action. She got to meet Ralph for the first time in the pig barn, of all places, and we had the chance to quickly chat and hug before she was whisked away to see to her royal Wisconsin duties. Then it was time for us to fulfill our own summer fair duties of observing farm animals (the horsies were Ralphie's favorite,) standing in front of giant piggy banks, devouring cream puffs the size of our face, and walking until our feet were good and tired. Summer, you're so cute at the fair.
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Shelby's instagram:: @shelbyosmond
Nicole's instagram:: @nicoleneesby


weekend update with amelia markgraf and jimmy fallon

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WOULDN'T IT BE COOL IF I COULD GET JIMMY FALLON TO GUEST POST HERE ON THE HOMEBOOK? Was anyone else disappointed that they replayed Timberweek last week instead of new episodes? Do I talk about Jimmy too much on my blog?

Anyway, here are some photos of an after church nature/beach/lake walk we took yesterday. It's the middle of August and school is starting this week for lots of kids, but it was our first time at our little spot by Lake Michigan this summer. The weather was perfect and Ralph's morning nap was already a bust, and we could hear the windy, stinky shores calling our name. It was time. We trekked down the big hill and put our feet in the sand, and Ryan immediately took Ralph out to the dangerous rocky parts. Ralph was confused by the sand, and attempted to eat it. He was unsuccessful. It was altogether some good Sunday kind of fun.

But let me tell you about Saturday, because Saturday was quite favorable in the food department: a Packer game was playing at 7pm that evening, so like any good wife of a die hard Packer fan would, I made a big old pot of chili and homemade pretzels with cheese sauce. Yes I did. The pretzels turned out fantastically (here's the recipe I used) and the chili, which is my dad's recipe, was superb as always. The cheese sauce was eh. We feasted after Ralph went to bed, and Ryan watched the game while I did my nails. And now we have enough leftover chili and pretzels with cheese sauce to last until the next Packer game. Which is on Friday. Exciting stuff happening over here.

Here are some other things that happened over the weekend: 

We rescued Ryan's aunt's car from an auto body shop, and Ryan drove it back to our house. He couldn't drive it over 15mph the entire way home, yet I, in my own car, going the speed limit, was the one who got honked at. 

I have the itch to fiiiiiiinally put the finishing touches on Ralphie's room. I just need to figure out the curtain situation and I'll be done. Ryan built 3 little bookshelves and hung them up on the wall yesterday, and they look so spiffy. I can't wait to show you!

While I was busy making chili and pretzels and cheese sauce on Saturday afternoon, Ryan was on Ralph wrangling duty. After a good while of listening to them play from the kitchen, I walked into the living room to find Ryan had set up the pack and play and plopped Ralph in there, while he watched golf from the couch. I'm still not sure if it's a genius or cruel idea. That said, the pack and play is still set up in the living room. Our dear Ralph is a darling, sweet, exhausting child.

I successfully ignored 4 baskets of laundry waiting to be folded on our dining room table all weekend long. Four baskets! This probably wouldn't be a problem if I didn't have four baskets to stuff all that clean laundry into.

That's it. The weekend is over and Monday is here. Ralph and I are going to hang sheets on the clothesline, bake some zucchini bread, and practice our high-five-ing today. Let the week begin!



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Hello hello, is it fall by you?

Milwaukee decided to switch seasons early this year, and has dropped its temperatures down to the 60's all week so far. I'm undecided as to how I feel about it. This summer never really felt like it got going strong enough, and now it's just giving up. I guess I'd like it to keep on trying because, while apples and sweaters and football games are nice, I'm still enjoying the garden and open windows and dressing Ralph in tank tops. Not yet, summer, I haven't even been to the beach yet! I'm keeping my spirits up by snipping the dill growing by the back door and bringing it inside. It makes my house smell like my mom's and my grandma's houses. Like home and good food and comfort.

I worked on another fun post for YAMF last week. You can see it here! Ralphie and I threw a fake party that no one came to, although my niece Lilah saw the photos and was pretty sad she couldn't make it. The smell of the balloons and all the bubblegum made my dining room smell like a sticky roller rink arcade, so as soon as the last shot was taken, the balloons came down. And then the real party began. Ralphie went nuts for those balloons.
Ryan has joined forces with my brother-in-law Jason in brewing their own beer for the first time. For a few days this pretty box full of beer-making stuff was in the corner of my living room, taunting Ryan like a Christmas present. He's always loved beer, but now he's really into it-- watching beer documentaries, buying different brands. Drinking it. Hoarding it. So, if anyone is in the mood for a cold one, we've got a fridge-full in the basement.
I still have a serious case of decorator's paralysis since we moved into the house last October. There are too few finished parts, too many unfinished parts. No matter how much I want to complete the house, lists and notebook pages full of ideas are as far as I'm willing to go. This is one of the few finished corners, for now. I like this little spot.
We've been listening to this record nonstop lately. I play it while Ralphie plays on the floor, right before his nap. Side 1 only. He bounces along to it for the first few tracks, and then he gets slower and clumsier and fussier. By the time the needle is back in its place, we're on our way up the stairs to his room. It's one of a million little routines we've made together-- one that I love and want to remember, because I'll miss it when it's gone.
This record isn't nearly as good as I hoped it would be, but I love the colorful sentiment on the cover. I'm thinking of cutting it out and framing it, because like I said, the record stinks.
Aaaaand a shot of one of the many, many messes my curious little boy makes during the day. As much as his constant energy exhausts me, I love watching him discover. Well, that's not entirely true. Sometimes I'm like, darn it Ralph, I just cleaned that up. But. The kid is tough. He doesn't give up. He's fearless like his dad and stubborn like his mother, and my heart swells when I see those parts come out in him. 

In other news, this cool weather has me busting out my Elliott Smith and Nick Drake tunes. Those dudes make me think of school and crispy leaves and homework and grey skies. Sooo, I guess maybe I am ready for fall? I don't know.


take back the summer | part 1 : the backyard adventure

Sweet Nicole from Today is My Favorite recently asked a few of us bloggers with babies to join her in a little project she dreamed up called Take Back the Summer. The concept, in her words, is this: My idea is to collaborate on a project called Take Back The Summer: with the idea of us as mamas taking back our summer days from the mundane, hiding out in our air conditioned houses to making these days with our little something to be remembered. I loved the idea, and couldn't wait to get started.

As a stay-at-home-mom, I'll be the first to admit that some days can feel awfully long and mundane. It's just too easy to get into a rut of chores, naps, toys, repeat, especially on the days when Ryan takes the car to work and Ralph and I are stuck at home. Making the day something to be remembered, like Nicole mentioned, is something I want so badly to do everyday with Ralphie, and yet, too often I get bogged down with the idea that grand gestures have to be made in order for the day to feel like a success. I keep forgetting that sometimes the smallest and simplest activities can hold big amounts of wonder for a growing baby boy. 

So, when that time of day rolls around where Ralph is bored with his toys and my legs feel restless, the first thing we do is open the back door and step outside. We feel the sun on our cheeks, and point to birdies, and blink and squint up at the leaves. We check the garden and smell the tomato vines and wave to Tugger, the fluffy dog who lives next door. Ralph eats the grass, and I fish it out of his mouth. Sometimes we pick flowers to take back inside. We crawl and walk and twirl till we're tired. It's simple, and it's good enough for us.
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